Last updated on: 6/15/2017 11:06:47 AM PST

Old Answers

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The Congressional Report Services (CRS) of the Library of Congress, in its Apr. 18, 2002 report "The USA PATRIOT Act: A Sketch," written and prepared by Charles Doyle, Senior Specialist American Law Division, stated:

"The Act gives federal officials greater authority to track and intercept communications, both for law enforcement and foreign intelligence gathering purposes. It vests the Secretary of the Treasury with regulatory powers to combat corruption of U.S. financial institutions for foreign money laundering purposes. It seeks to further close our borders to foreign terrorists and to detain and remove those within our borders. It creates new crimes, new penalties, and new procedural efficiencies for use against domestic and international terrorists."

Apr. 18, 2002 - Congressional Research Service 
Full Text of the USA PATRIOT Act (399 KB)  

PRO (yes)

American Conservative Union (ACU) Chairman David A. Keene, in an open-to-the-press panel discussion at the National Press Club on Apr. 10, 2003, stated:

"The USA PATRIOT Act was passed in haste included [sic] ideas previously shelved by the Congress, like expanded civil forfeiture and roving wiretaps: ideas that law enforcement wanted, but could never get.

When creating sound anti-terrorism legislation, the line should not be drawn at 'what is helpful for law enforcement,' but at what is needed to protect us while preserving the proper balance between preserving civil liberties and our nation's national security needs."

Apr. 10, 2003 - American Conservative Union (ACU) 

James Jay Carafano, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, and Paul Rosenzweig, JD, former Senior Legal Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, wrote in the 2005 Winning the Long War: Lessons from the Cold War for Defeating Terrorism and Preserving Freedom:

"To date, as the Department of Justice Inspector General has reported, there has not been one single instance of abuse of the powers granted in the [U.S. PATRIOT Act].

Safeguarding the civil liberties of American citizens is vitally important, as important during war as during periods of peace. Yet so, too, is preserving our security. The Patriot Act preserves both. Hysterical criticisms that the act was unnecessary and is a threat to a healthy civil society have proven unfounded, and calls for repeal or significant revision are misguided."

2005 - James Jay Carafano, PhD 
Paul Rosenzweig, JD 

Bob Barr, JD, former US Congressman (R-GA), in his Dec. 6, 2005 speech "Problems With the USA Patriot Act," stated:

"Many of the [USA PATRIOT Act's] provisions are non-controversial and have had a positive impact on the government's ability to fight acts of terrorism. However, there are a number of provisions that raise serious questions of constitutionality...

If we were to take the position, reflected in provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act, that the government can invade our privacy and gather evidence that can be used against us based on no suspicion whatsoever that we've done anything wrong, but simply because the government wants to gather evidence as part of some generalized, 'anti-terrorism' or 'foreign intelligence' investigation, then we will have rendered that Fourth Amendment principle essentially meaningless."

Dec. 6, 2005 - Bob Barr, JD 

CON (no)

Alberto Gonzales, JD, then US Attorney General, wrote in his Dec. 14, 2005 editorial "Reauthorize the Patriot Act" in the Washington Post:

"After a lengthy and extensive public debate, Congress has produced a comprehensive reauthorization bill to permanently reauthorize 14 of the [USA PATRIOT Act's] 16 expiring provisions. During this important debate, Republicans and Democrats have discovered that concerns raised about the act's impact on civil liberties, while sincere, were unfounded. There have been no verified civil liberties abuses in the four years of the act's existence."

Dec. 14, 2005 - Alberto Gonzales, JD 

James Sensenbrenner, JD, US Congressman (R-WI), wrote in his Mar. 1, 2006 editorial "No Rights Have Been Violated" in USA Today:

"Zero. That's the number of substantiated USA Patriot Act civil liberties violations. Extensive congressional oversight found no violations.

Intense public scrutiny has yet to find a single civil liberty abuse. Despite many challenges, no federal court has declared unconstitutional any of the Patriot Act provisions Congress is renewing."

Mar. 1, 2006 - James Sensenbrenner, JD